Monday, September 29, 2014

Week Three: Peak 10 Challenge #2

With everything going on, it seems like I should be much further along in this challenge. Ha!  But I really am enjoying it!  My arms are sore after the strength workouts and my stamina is increasing again with all these high intensity workouts!

I'm ready for another week!

Mini goal this week: get enough protein!  For this challnge, your diet should consist of 25-30% protein, 20-30% fat, the rest carbs.  I'm usually at 20-24% protein so I have some work to do!

Monday: Pure Strength 1 + yoga class

Wow, my arms were aching after this workout!  The leg work is always a difficult surprise in this video, too.  All in all, it's very challenging....but worth it!  I love feeling my body change!  Yoga was much more about flow today so I got very warm and stretched out.  It felt good after my strength video!

29% protein!

Tuesday: Pure Cardio

I was super sore today after weights and cardio so the punches in this workout really hurt.  I honestly can't remember my arms hurting as much as they have in the last two weeks or so.  Maybe I'm finally doing something right!  LOL!  I must say that I'm getting a little tired of this workout.  Don't misunderstand: I like it!  But to do it every week for 8 weeks gets a bit monotonous.  I may try to find something else to do next week - with a similar level of impact.

27% protein!

Wednesday: Total Body Cardio & Strength by Michelle Dozois on Glo + yoga class

I had planned a lighter workout today but circumstances beyond my control (I'll discuss them soon), meant I needed to up the cardio now.  This one is tough but I really, really like it.  Lunch today was yoga - ha!  It was difficult but in a different way than Monday's class - we did more with balance, which is always a struggle.  But fun!

29% protein

*********************From Thursday lunch to Sunday morning, I'm out of town.******************

Thursday: Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout

Wow.  I thought I was doing good through the first two peak circuits of this one.  And then the last two came along and I could barely catch my breath.  Whew!  But that was progress, at least, not being winded with the first peak circuit.  I'll take that baby step!

Friday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix

I was doing this workout away from home so….I was proud to get it done.  This is still my favorite CIB and, today, I really enjoyed it.  

Saturday: Dozois' Barre Fusion on Glo + Petra Kolber's Cardio Burst on Glo

Today, I tried to get my mother interested in Glo.  I thought Petra would be a good way to get her into it.  But, after 10 minutes, she seemed uninterested so we moved on.  Petra's accent distracted me but her low impact cardio was a nice change.  I loved Michelle's 30-minute Barre workout - basically a shortened  BodyFit 360.  It's tough but in a different way than high impact cardio.  I love it!  So, I had a nice 45-minute workout, again away from home.

Sunday: Peak 10 Cardio Strength

Or Peak Fit Cardio Strength 1.  I don't know why but this one was really, really tough for me today.  Sure, I didn't sleep well last night but that's nothing new.  I powered through, somehow, and felt good - but tired - afterward.  It's good to be home today

Calorie Counts:

This week has been crazy.  Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday were good.  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday….not so much.  Being out of town and out of the routine is always hard for the diet.  Back on the wagon next week!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Shadows on the Nile

I recently finished a novel my Kate Furnivall entitled Shadows on the Nile.  It's a little late to be considered historical fiction but since I love Furnivall's writing, I decided to read it.

My Goodreads review:
Kate Furnivall's Russia "series" (though not technically a series) is one of my absolute favorites. So when I saw this book, I eagerly snatched it up.

The story takes place in 1920s-30s England and begins with the mysterious disappearance of Jessie's baby brother. Later, as an adult, another disappearance occurs that leads Jessie on a merry chase all the way to Egypt to find her brother.

Furnivall's characters are fabulous, especially Georgie, Tim, and Monty. She gives the reader quite a few surprises to go along with superb writing, excellent research, and a fun plot. While not quite as captivating as the Russia books, Shadows in the Nile is a pleasant read.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Big Brownie Cookies (2014:33)

I first tried these cookies several months ago but forgot to post about them.  Mr. Higgins loved them so much that I've made them again twice, I think.  They are like little brownie bites - so, so good!! 

Big Brownie Cookies by Camilla Saulsbury (in Brownie Mix Bliss, 2005, p. 135)

1 19.5-19.8-ounce package brownie mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil or unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, semisweet
1 cup chopped nuts, optional (I left these out)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray (I used parchment paper). 

In a large mixing bowl, combine brownie mix, oil, and eggs. Mix with a spoon until just blended.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  

Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheets.  

Bake 11-14 minutes until cracked in appearance and just barely set.  Cool 1 minute on sheets.  Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen big cookies.

I got 45 cookies out of this recipe (my tablespoonsfuls were less heaping), making each cookie 89 calorie each. Wow!  This is one of my new, favorite dessert recipes!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week Two: Peak 10 Challenge #2

We had another round of company last weekend so my healthy eating suffered....again. I'm super motivated to workout, though, and I'm ready for week two!

Monday: Pure Cardio

It was a blessing to sleep well Sunday night, making me happy and energizied this morning.  And Michelle is always good for the mood with her motivating peppiness.  I really do enjoy this workout though the last circuit - with lunge jumps - always gets me.  My arms have been sore since yoga on Friday so the punches were a bit painful.  But, all in all, a great workout!

Tuesday: Michelle Dozois' Straight Forward Strength Training on Glo

I've been wanting to try this workout since it posted to Glo a month or so ago.  This week gave me the opportunity, subbing it for Pure Strength 1.  Strength training is not my favorite thing so as much as I can mix it up, the better.  I really liked this Glo workout; Michelle is at her best here.  From now on, I'll add it to my rotations in my Peak 10 Challenges!

Wednesday: Alex McLean's Bodyweight Circuits on Glo + yoga class

Well, by now you know how much I dislike the Peak Fit Anytime Anywhere No Excuse Workout.  So when I needed something to sub in its place (because I'm not doing AA every week!), I found this HIIT workout by McLean on Glo.  It did not appear to be the hardest of his HIIT workouts but it had a lot of "peak" type moves and a lot of push-ups...which is like AA.  It proved to be challening, especially the floorwork, but it was a nice change!  There was about 30 minutes of HIIT total, after a warm-up, followed by some core work and a stretch.  I skipped some of the core work to do my own cardio before stretching.  My yoga class at the rec was nice - and difficult, with more core work than usual!  Planks!  Ack!

Thursday:  Tip Top Shape by Michelle Dozois on Glo

Wow.  I did this workout a few weeks ago and thought it a doozy....and it was again this morning.  There was sweat pouring off of me during this video that alternates weights and cardio.  I wish Michelle would post more of these kinds of workouts to Glo. They really are fabulous!

Friday: Peak Fit Dynamic Flexibility + Core Dynamics + yoga class

I was so looking forward to a light morning.  I did the first ten minutes of Core Dynamics and then Dynamic Flexibility.  It felt really good to stretch.  Part of my reasoning for doing my light workout this morning was because I knew about yoga....and Fridays is the hard yoga.  My legs were trembling afterward.  Wow.  I'm loving that class - so I must be a masochist!  Ha!

Saturday:  Cardio Strength 1 by Michelle Dozois on Glo + walk

When I began this workout, I couldn't really remember anything about it.  But as I went along, I gradually remembered that I liked this one!  Ha!  It's difficult but not so difficult that I dread it.  Michelle incorporates some new moves and peaks, which kept me guessing.  You have to love these Peak 10 workouts, that have me drenched in sweat in less than ten minutes.  Lte in the day, Mr. Higgins and I took advantage of the cool weather (90 degrees - LOL) and took a walk around the neighborhood.  It was very nice to get out and enjoy the day at home.

Sunday: Peak 10 More Cardio Interval Burn

This was my very first Peak 10 CIB workout….but I haven't done it in a while and I always forget just how hard it is.  The first circuit is one of the hardest of all the CIBs, I think; it's non-stop and culminates with air jacks.  Wow.  It was fun to do this workout again - even if it's a sweat-fest.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1380
Tuesday - 1396
Wednesday - 1391
Thursday - 1356
Friday - BAD!
Saturday - 1474
Sunday - 1386

I'm glad my eating was better this week.  I tried some new recipes over the weekend so I had fun though I never ate horribly.  Yay!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Another Week

This week has flown by, mostly because of my health issues and the worry that comes with that.  I go back to the doctor on Tuesday to discuss treatment….so we'll see.

Thankfully, this weekend is a free weekend, one in which I can relax and be lazy - with the exception of two good workouts, of course.  Considering it's my only free weekend in September, I must savor it.  And I should have some new recipes to share with you next week because of it!  

And I look forward to spending time with my little kittens, Dooku included.  Isn't he cute?  Ha!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I've been dealing with some unexpected health issues lately.  It's so surprising that I can think of little else.  If my posts are a bit erratic, that's why and I apologize.

My health is something that I always took for granted.  It's always been great!  And now, with my strict workout routine, I feel better than ever.  So it was a shock when I went to the doctor and a routine blood test alerted them to a problem. 

It's nothing life threatening but it's a big deal.  It's also genetic so I have my parents to turn to - and I'm grateful for that, despite the flawed genes!  Ha! 

I'll get back on my cooking game soon and will have more exciting things to post soon!  So stay tuned!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week One: Peak 10 Challenge #2

After all the eating last week, I'm ready to get back into the workout routine.  I always feel better when I workout every day. 

But after Sunday's Peak Fit Test and cardio strength workout, I was a bit worried at my fitness level.  It's amazing what taking one week off from strenuous workouts will do to you.  So we'll see how this week goes.

Monday: Peak Fit Pure Cardio

I was super achy after Sunday's workout.  My bum hurt; my arms hurt; my legs hurt; I hurt.  I also had the beginnings of a headache that had plagued me, on and off, for a week.  But I made myself move and, before I knew it, my head was a lot better.  It was definitely difficult doing this kind of cardio again in the early morning but I felt great afterward.

Tuesday:  Michelle Dozois' Total Body Cardio and Strength on Glo

This morning, I still ached.  I'm really beginning to loathe my "rest" week for making me have all these aches and pains.  Thankfully, I was looking forward to this workout from Michelle on Glo.  It has 4 cardio intervals interspersed with 4 strength segments.  It's definitely a workout.  I'm trying to ramp it up for tomorrow's workout, which I always hate....

Wednesday: Peak Fit Anytime Anywhere Workout + yoga class

Why do I submit myself to this torture!?  Sigh.  Because I want to be fit and healthy, that's why.  It never fails that this AA workout kicks my bum like nothing else.  I had to modify two "peaks" because I was that winded.  Wow.  I'm really hoping this gets easier in the weeks ahead, like the last time I did this Challenge.  My co-workers and I went to a 50-minute yoga classs at lunch and, thankfully, it focused a lot on the legs, which I needed.  I really do like that class!

Thursday: Peak Fit Pure Strength 1

So I completely forgot how much this gets my arms.  Wow!  Again, it's frustrating to see how much harder these exercises are after a week of rest.  And I haven't done a Peak strength workout in 8 weeks.  So.....ow.

Friday:  Dozois' Burn Calories, Release Stress + Scott's Waist Down Strength on Glo + yoga class

I'm skipping my yoga/fusion/flow morning workout this week in order to burn some more calories after last week's extravangance.  But since I didn't want a crazy intense workout, I settled on a level 2 (out of 3) workout by Michelle on Glo.  It was 30 minutes of mostly low intensity cardio (about 30% high intensity).  I followed that up with Scott's level 2 leg workout.  So, so many squats.  Ouch!  These made for a great morning workout!  At lunch, a co-worker and I went to yoga at the rec.  Friday classes are led by a different teacher with a more rigorous pace and more core work.  The class was mostly made up of undergrads, unlike the Monday and Wednesday classes, so this was out of my comfort zone, for sure.  I ended up enjoying it, though, and hope to try it again!

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn

It had been two months since I did this CIB.  Though it's the easiest of all the CIBs, it's still tough.  But I like it and I had fun with this workout which lasted about 75 minutes.

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength

After entertaining and eating badly on Sunday, I got this workout in toward the end of the day.  That's not my preferred time to work out but I really needed and wanted to sweat.  Boy, oh boy was this workout hard!  The extra pounds of the weekend made moving much more difficult.  I made it through….barely.

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1348
Tuesday - 1369
Wednesday - 1373
Thursday - 1313

Friday - bad
Saturday - bad
Sunday - BAD!

I'm mostly happy with my eating this week.  The weekend proved to be challenging with my parents in town.  Oh, well.  That doesn't happen often and I'll do a lot better next week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


It's been awhile since Dooku was mentioned on here.  He had an exhausting time of it last week, entertaining his grandparents.  And he was a good boy, super cute and well behaved. 

Pets are a commitment and they sometimes drive us crazy, but the amount of joy they bring into a home is priceless.  Dooku always makes me smile and for that, I'm extremely grateful.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rest Week

I'm totally and completely phsyched about doing another Peak 10 Challenge next week.  In the meantime, my in-laws are in town, forcing me (ha!) to take a break from my crazy workouts.

One of the more adventurous things I did this week was to become a member at my employer's rec center.  Yes, it's good to work at a university.  Up until now, however, my building was so far from the rec center that working out there was not an option.  And I still don't like gyms or working out in front of people.  But, after eight years, I decided to take the plunge for one simple reason: lunch.  I can go and walk on the indoor track at lunch or, just maybe, take a yoga class. 

We'll see how this goes.  I already have buyer's remorse.  No joke. 

Here's a rundown of my "rest"...

Monday: Glo's Thrills and Drill by Amy Dixon

Before you freak out, I did ten minutes of this very light cardio "workout."  I wanted some time to myself in our full house so I went with my laptop to our bathroom and did this.  Ha!  Amy is still way too chatty so I still don't know what to make of her.  Ugh.

Tuesday: walking

I walked to my car - twice.  That's ten minutes each round trip.  I walked to the rec center to buy a membership.  Yay!  It's just not much fun walking when it's 100 degrees out.

Wednesday: Yoga class at the rec

When I committed to doing this class, I was oddly nervous.  Working out with undergrads has never sounded appealing.  I went with a co-worker and was happy that 75% of the class was made up of faculty/staff - all needing a break at lunch.  It was a lovely class.  I stretched in new and different ways.  When it was over, I bought a class pass for the year.  Yoga is offered MWF and if I go at least twice a week, that pass is worth is.  

Thursday: walking at the rec

At lunch, a co-worker and I really needed to get out so when I said I wanted to walk on the track in the rec (with my newfound membership), she eagerly joined me.  We walked for 30 minutes - not too fast but enough to sweat - for about 1.25 miles.  There were undergrads around us but not too many.  It felt good to be active after stretching so much the previous day.  

Friday: rest

Saturday: rest

Sunday: Peak Fit Test and Peak 10 More Cardio Strength

Wow.  I can't believe how much this test affected me.  My legs were shaking afterward and I could barely get through 30 minutes of the cardio strength.  I skipped the peaks in the CS workout since I had done 10 peaks with the fit test.  I was exhausted.  So, 25 minutes for the test, 30 minutes for the CS, and about 10 minutes of stretching.  I'm done.  

Calorie Counts:

Um, no.  We won't go there.  I ate out every day except Sunday.  I tried to be healthy but sometimes that was no possible.  It was, however, a nice change from the routine, which has gotten a bit stale after the long summer months.  

Now I'm ready for my next Peak 10 Challenge!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cinnamon Loaf Cake (2014:32)

Though I've been doing some baking lately, mostly cookie, I was itching to try something new.  I'd pinned a recipe for Cinnamon Loaf Cake and, once I calculated the calories, decided to make it.

My first hurdle was self-rising flour: I had none.  I found the baking powder/flour substitution online and proceeded with the rest of the recipe.  Instead of creamer, I used skim milk and 1.5 tsp of vanilla. 

The cake smelled delicious while baking.  I love making the house smell good!  But when I took the cake out of the oven, it was in an inch thick.  Obviously, my sub for self-rising flour did not work. Ack! 

But the cake tasted wonderful!  It was so wonderful that I bought the right flour at the store so I can attempt to make it again - the right way.  It's perfect for drinking with coffee or tea.  Yum!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Stella Bain

I missed a book group meeting and at that meeting, they chose to read Stella Bain by Anita Shreve.  I've long seen Ms. Shreve's books but have never touched one.  When I read the summary for this novel, I was no more interested.  But I gave it a try.  And then, with my in-laws in town (who read a lot), I found myself picking it up again and again when I had a few mintues to kill. 

Here's my review for Goodreads:

This novel, chosen by my book group, seemed uninteresting to me when I picked it up. World War I does not appeal to me; amnesia is not interesting; Anita Shreve doesn't write books that appeal to me.

But for some reason I had a lot of time to read and I kept coming back to this book. It ended up holding my attention far better than I would have imagined. Stella Bain's story was fascinating and I loved piecing together her memories as she discovered them. World War I was a fascinating back-drop as was London. The only "boring" part, in my opinion, was in the courtroom.

While the ending wasn't a complete surprise, it was very fulfilling to this reader.

This was my 17th book fo the year!  I'm really hoping to make my goal of reading 25 books!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week Seven: Jari Love Challenge

Here we go!  My last week of this challenge; my last week before a week off from working out!  Wow!

I definitely think I'm due for a rest, even though my OCD-brain hates the thought of taking a week off from exercise.  But after a while, you have to rest and refuel just to get your motivation back.  And this is what I need. 

However, before that rest, I'm going to hit it hard this week! 

Monday:  Jari Love's Get Extremely RIPPED 1000 - Workout 1

The first workout on this disc is by far my favorite.  It's always tough but the cardio is much more preferred than that of the second workout.  This workout lasted for 35 minutes.  I then did a leg strength track, using weights, followed by a nice stretch.  Not bad for a Monday morning!

Tuesday: Jillian Michaels' 6 Week Six-Pack

I hadn't touched this video in forever!  So instead of doing a lighter fusion/pilates/yoga workout this week, I decided to be tortured by Jillian.  Ha!  Her ab workouts have cardio circuits incorporated throughout, in order to burn calories while sculpting.  As a result, I definitely sweated.  I did the entire basic workout and half of the advanced, which was one circuit before it was all repeated.  Wow.  We'll see how my abs looks!

Wednesday: 500 Calorie Workout by The Firm

This morning, I wanted some good cardio.  The Firm's workout got me sweating in no time, alternating between five minute segments of cardio and then weights.  Even though I've done plenty of weights lately and during my Peak 10 Challenge, this workout always gets me.  Perhaps it's the repetitions of the compound exercies.  Even though it was tough, it felt good!

Thursday: Get RIPPED! 1000 by Jari Love

I haven't been sleeping well this week and this morning, I woke up feeling icky.  But I made myself move and, before long, I was well into this Jari Love workout.  

Friday:  Glo's Sweat It Out, Burn It Off and HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals

I put these two videos together to make a 50 minute cardio workout.  The first was athletic cardio with some light weights (but all cardio) and the second was HIIT training.  You alternate 20 second HIIT moves.  I like having different types of workouts within my 50 minutes so this was fun!

Saturday: rest

Sunday: rest

Calorie Counts:

Monday - 1385
Tuesday - 1385
Wednesday - 1365
Thursday - 1398
Friday - BAD!
Saturday - bad
Sunday - bad

Mr. Higgins' parents arrived Saturday morning and so my "break" began.